RAIN 11/17: Google opens free cloud service to all comers, sets up music store

Michael Schmitt
November 17, 2011 - 11:00am

Google MusicGoogle yesterday unveiled an online music store to rival iTunes, while also opening its cloud music service to all U.S. users.

Google Music's cloud service -- first announced in May (RAIN coverage here) -- will remain free. It allows users to upload up to 20,000 songs and then stream them from Google Music's website or via Google's Music Android app.

Google also announced yesterday that 200 million Android devices have been activated worldwide.

Songs in Google's new music store range from 69 cents to $1.29. They are added instantly to the user's Google Music cloud library. The store includes 13 million tracks from EMI, Sony Music, Universal and 23 independent labels (Warner Music Group is notably missing).

Additionally, artists can use Google's Artist Hub to upload and sell their music through Google's store. The artist sets the price and Google takes a 30% share of each sale.

Earlier this week Apple launched its own cloud music service, iTunes Match (RAIN coverage here). Amazon also offers a cloud music service (more here).

You can find more coverage from the Washington Post here, CNet here and Google's blog here.

Paul Maloney
November 17, 2011 - 11:00am

Clear Channel Radio's multi-artist concert event that heralded the relaunch of its iHeartRadio service will air on VH1 Wednesday evening, November 23, and twice again on Thanksgiving.

Lady Gaga at iHeart Music Festival

The iHeartRadio Music Festival took place at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas September 23 and 24. It was staged to promote the launch of Clear Channel's newly-retooled iHeartRadio service (including Pandora-like listener-generated channels). The iHeart Radio relaunch and concert event were both announced in July (see RAIN here).
The new iHeartRadio launched as a beta early in September (read our first impressions here).

The press quickly heralded the new iHeartRadio platform as a worthy competitor to Pandora (here). The company announced Bob Pittman's October promotion (here) to CEO of CC Media Holdings as an "endorsement" of his digital initiatives, especially iHeartRadio.

Triton Digital Webcast Metrics for September indeed showed iHeartRadio's AAS (Average Active Sessions, which is essentially equivalent to AQH — i.e., average simultaneous listeners) for U.S. listening was up 10% over the previous month (Mon-Sun 6a-12M). However, we noted at the time that this growth was actually less than 1% higher than the Clear Channel's previous AAS peak in December 2010. Plus, the month-to-month increase is actually lower than the 14% growth Clear Channel achieved from July to August 2011 (more here).

The iHeartRadio Music Festival featured performances by pop, rock, hip hop, and country acts like Lady Gaga (pictured), Coldplay, Kenny Chesney, The Black Eyed Peas, Steven Tyler, Jennifer Lopez, Carrie Underwood, Jane’s Addiction, and Nicki Minaj. It is scheduled to air on the Palladia Network as well in December.

Michael Schmitt
November 17, 2011 - 11:00am

MOG's BMW interface"If you know how to tune in a radio station in a BMW," writes the New York Times' Gadgetwise blog, "you can use MOG." Though the music service offers on-demand capabitlies, reviewer Sam Grobart found himself tuning in to MOG's radio streams and playlists more often while driving. 

"MOG’s interactivity with BMW and Mini dashboards is an elegant, simple way to get more music you want to hear in the car. I had a blast hearing songs I hadn’t thought about in years."

You can find the full review here.

Michael Schmitt
November 17, 2011 - 11:00am

Honda's Pandora-friendly CR-V dashboardHonda has announced its 2012 CR-V will include Pandora integration. Drivers will need an iPhone to stream Pandora while driving. The 2012 CR-V goes on sale on December 15.

This is the first Internet radio integration from Honda. Pandora says Honda is its 14th automotive partner

Pandora's press release has more information here.